After yesterday, when Dylan went out without a coat, I woke this morning to a covering of snow. My first thought, when I looked out of the window, was of Dylan hugging his hoodie sleeves over his hands in one of the photos from yesterday’s trip. My second thought, as a gritter truck thrummed by outside my house, orange lights flashing, was of the roads.
Dylan already has ice on his schedule today; following last year’s successful trip to Disney On Ice we have two tickets for tonight’s show. How would I manage this, I wondered, on snowy roads? The rural setting of Dylan’s home might be enchanting in the summer but, it suddenly occurred to me, it could be a challenge in winter. I’m not sure why I haven’t thought this through before. The road from the motorway exit to the care home is twisty and unlit. It dips and climbs to places I know the frost and ice will cling. It’s the sort of journey on which you lose your mobile phone reception. Not the most confident driver at the best of times, these conditions are my nightmare.
Why have I never envisaged the residential setting in bad weather I wonder? I will surely not be able to maintain my mid-week visit to Dylan on winter evenings. And what about the days of sudden snow – if it falls on a Saturday when I am due to collect Dylan, say? Or during the weekend, while Dylan is here with me, so that we can’t make the return journey? The home is not on a public transport route; if I don’t feel confident enough to drive, I will have to let Dylan down. The idea of my not arriving when Dylan is expecting me ranks as high on my discomfort scale as him being without a coat in winter (higher perhaps). If I replay the memory reels from all my Februaries I could consider the situation bleak: if snow falls badly, I might not see Dylan for weeks.
I will have to ask the manager what the roads around the care home are like in winter and talk to other parents about how they manage this. But then fresh worries form (worries I know are not strictly mine). How do staff get to the care home in winter? What happens if they can’t get through and the home is short-staffed? And what about the risk to Dylan of trips on icy roads? Such thoughts are not helpful I know; I have to hand over responsibility for these decisions. On the positive side, I tell myself, Dylan will have a great time this winter if care home staff have more confidence than I do in the snow; Dylan loves to skate and sledge and will probably be in his element (providing he is properly dressed).